Montréal: A Global Nexus of Experiential and Creativity

Photo © Grand Quai et Tour du Port de Montréal

Bonjour, hi! Home to the world’s coolest street and fifth coolest neighborhood, Montréal, Quebec, has been a hotbed of experiential innovation since the launch of Cirque du Soleil in 1984. There’s also a vibrant music, theater and dance scene with endless street art and festivals to explore — including our favorite, C2 Montréal (C2MTL). No wonder we chose C2MTL and the city of Montréal to host the inaugural XP Fronts. 

Discover the creative spaces, studios and experiences that make Montréal so special. And join us for a meeting of the most experiential minds at the XP Fronts, the first-of-its-kind gathering for the experiential industry, May 21-23.


Montréal has a long history of design excellence, particularly in its architecture, urban planning, interiors and industrial design (just ask XLIST council member and Montréal native Azamit). From the old city’s 17th-century stone masonry to the postmodern architecture of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, the city emphasizes sustainability through mixed-use developments, environmental protection and community engagement.

Home to more than 120 cultural communities from five continents, Montréal boasts a vibrant arts scene that shines during annual events like the Montréal International Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs and Montréal International Film Festival. The provincial government of Quebec has a comprehensive cultural policy that promotes the arts and recognizes the city’s role as a cultural capital, including a designated UNESCO City of Design. This support is rooted in a recognition of the arts as a critical component of the city’s identity, economy and quality of life. 

Of course, Montréal’s creativity is also heavily inspired by its always-on experiential industry.

The OG experiential creatives at Cirque du Soleil now host ECHO in Old Montréal — and attendees will never look at boxes the same way again (Cirque’s traveling shows have performed for more than 378 million people in 86 countries). Then there’s the PHI Centre from cultural entrepreneur, philanthropist and XLISTER Phoebe Greenberg. Founded as the Phi Foundation in 2007, the private (and free!) museum showcases the world’s best in contemporary art exhibitions. In 2012, Phoebe established PHI Studio — known for technology-based immersive experiences sometimes within, but most often beyond, PHI’s walls — making Montréal one of the world’s leading destinations for VR and AR experiences. 

The city’s focus on looking forward while honoring the past is clear to those who visit AURA at the Notre-Dame Basilica by Moment Factory. The cathedral’s neo-Gothic architecture is showcased through illuminated exteriors, sculptures, and artworks, culminating in a multimedia performance in the nave with the 7,000-piped Casavant organ.

Aura at the Notre-Dame Basilica. Photo courtesy Moment Factory


As a truly cosmopolitan city, Montréal boasts world-class design schools and studios that cultivate a vibrant community of creators across everything from graphic, industrial, interior and digital media design to art, fashion, textile, circus arts and, of course, experiential. Some of the world’s most impressive experiential studios call Montréal home.

Multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory crafts immersive multimedia environments by blending video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects. Boasting a portfolio of 550 global projects, the Moment Factory team (which includes XLISTERS Guillaume Borgomano and Benjamin Dupont) created last year’s GLOW at Resorts World Las Vegas, plus The Killers’ Imploding the Mirage Tour and the FIFA World Cup 2026 Brand Launch.

Gentilhomme is a creative studio that brings together everyone from designers and coders to visual effects and music experts to create interactive experiences, installations and performances. Focused on creating innovative multimedia design at any scale, the Gentilhomme team has produced the Gravity Orchestra interactive sound installation at SXSW, the immersive thriller experience Rail Rage, and Fall Out Boy’s Hella Mega Tour.

Rodeo FX is a distinguished visual effects and creative studio specializing in visual effects, animation and XP. The studio has earned acclaim and recognition both in Montréal and beyond — earning an Academy Award and BAFTA for its work on The Golden Compass, along with multiple Visual Effects Society Awards, Emmy Awards and Hollywood Professional Association Awards for its contributions to Game of Thrones. When the team isn’t taking home golden statues, they’re producing activations like The Demogorgon Experience at Cannes Lions and Viktor&Rolf’s “Fashion Statements” exhibition.

TAIT / Thinkwell — home to XLIST council member Émilie F. Grenier and XLISTER Thomas Jakobsen — is renowned for its bespoke experiences across theme parks, immersive exhibits and global events. They’re the geniuses behind Expo 2020 Dubai, Currents: Niagara’s Power Transformed and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, among others. 

Digital art studio Iregular specializes in creating interactive sculptures, immersive spaces that explore the dynamic interplay between humans and spaces. Founded by XLISTER and artist Daniel Iregui, Iregular implements technology-driven, audience-influenced systems to produce projects including the public art exhibit Our Common Home, the virtual interactive waterfall As Water Falls and the solar system–inspired sound and light installation, Solstice.


Solstice. Photo courtesy Iregular


While Montréal’s creative studios build everything from immersive art and sound installations to public art tours and interactive tech spaces, C2MTL is where visionaries come together to explore new ideas. C2MTL is a three-day creative business conference founded by Sid Lee and Cirque du Soleil in 2012. In past years, guests have been surprised by staged performances (like a mock argument between a bride and her wedding planner) and immersive lab experiences that create “spontaneous moments of joy or awe.” 

This year, C2MTL is taking over the cruise ship terminal of the Old Port’s Grand Quay and will highlight innovative trends springing from the convergence of commerce and creativity.

The event takes place from May 21-23, and each of the three days has a curated industry focus: experiential + immersive on day one (this is also when XP Land will be activating the XP Fronts), sustainability on day two and AI on day three. Moving to Grand Quay reflects C2’s roots, offering a unique community vibe to foster creativity and global discussions. C’est bon!

Join us in XP Land. A community for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all of those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.

Welcome To
Experiential Is Everything

XP Land is for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders, and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.